The wonderful Melissa Barbic and Elizabeth (3).
Melissa a previous project participant, you can view her previous image here.
Pregnancy and birth went beautifully for Melissa. She and Elizabeth's father had been together for five years before conceiving her and she was playing a primary role in raising his three older children from a previous relationship. She didn't have any complications along the way, went into labor on her due date and delivered her daughter the following day after only 20 minutes of pushing. They enjoyed a beautiful breastfeeding relationship from those first moments until Elizabeth self weaned at 16 months.
Melissa knew that her daughter's father struggled with alcoholism but continued to hope he'd get it under control. Early in her pregnancy he began to do much better and even began working steadily again. Things began to slip, however, and she soon discovered that he was also masking an addiction to prescription medication. Melissa felt that she needed to stay for many reasons, including her relationship with his other children but after he insisted on drinking through Elizabeth's first birthday that was held within a church, Melissa knew without a doubt that she needed to leave. She and Elizabeth are now safe, healthy, and very much living their lives to the fullest.
Melissa took some time as a single mother to find her footing and is grateful for the support of her parents and brother in helping her along the way, as well, as being positive people in Elizabeth's life. She doesn't have any contact with Elizabeth's father at this point in time and is very happily enjoying a new relationship with a man who has been a loving and supportive force in their lives.
Sharing her updated story in the years since she first joined us was very important to Melissa. She wants other women in her position to know that leaving a relationship with an addict is possible. She wants women who are staying because of other children to know that it's okay to look out for yourself, you don't have to feel guilty. And perhaps, most importantly, she wants women to know that is possible to be a single parent, and do it all alone. Opening yourself up to finding love again, can be a part of your story if you can just find the strength to put yourself first.